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Fighting against militancy: Gunships grounded over high costs

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Fighting against militancy: Gunships grounded over high costs

By Kamran Yousaf / Zia Khan

Published: January 26, 2011

Military campaigns in tribal areas hamstrung by resource constraints.


ISLAMABAD: With the country’s economy on a downslide, the military is struggling to keep up the momentum of its campaign against the Taliban and their al Qaeda cohorts in the tribal badlands, security officials said.

Resource constraints have grounded almost all operations against the home-grown Taliban to a near halt notwithstanding sporadic actions in some volatile areas, the offi cials told The Express Tribune. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Aerial attacks, which helped the military take out several high-value targets in the tribal regions, have particularly been affected by the shortage of funds. “Air power has always been a real difference between us and them. Without aerial cover, ground troops often face stiff resistance,“ said a fighter pilot from the Army Aviation, who took part in the 2009 Swat operation.

Helicopter gunships have been the most effective weapon the Army Aviation used in operations against militants in Swat and lately in South Waziristan and Orakzai tribal regions.

“But flying gunships on a daily basis is a very expensive affair,“ said the pilot, who once pounded the hideouts of the Taliban led by fugitive cleric Mullah Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio, in the high mountains of Swat Valley.

Of late, ground troops also relied on air power to make inroads into the deep valleys surrounded by mountainous terrain in the militant-infested South Waziristan and Orakzai.

But for quite some time now, the aerial operations have been halted, primarily because of their exorbitant cost, which runs into billions of rupees, said officials at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Another official also confirmed the development but cited a different reason. “Yes, it is true helicopter gunship attacks are rare now. But it is due to the fact that militants are now scattered in different areas,“ he said. “Whenever the militants regroup we use helicopter gunships like we did on Tuesday in Mohmand,“ he added.

The military’s presumed `foot dragging’ is coincidental with efforts by top leaders from the country’s largest political parties to evolve a mechanism to pull the country’s ailing economy out of troubled waters.

Last week, a government economic team engaged the main opposition party in talks in an effort to seek its support for the economy that has since 2008 been breathing on an $11.3 billion bailout package by the International Monetary Fund.

The economic crunch is hitting the military alike.

Recently, the army decided to allow two weekly holidays in its units to cope with the situation.

“Fighting a war is a costly affair,” said Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum. “With the government facing serious economic challenges, it is obvious the military cannot sustain its activities in the tribal areas in this situation,” said Gen Qayyum, who is a former chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories.

“I don’t think the military can launch any new full-scale operation in the tribal areas,“ he said. “According to my estimate, the ongoing operations in the tribal areas cost Pakistan roughly $250,000 per soldier annually as compared to $1 million being spent by the Americans in Afghanistan,“ he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2011.
 

DV RULES

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In short meanings WOT pushed us in a corner, we haven't fund and we will suffer more from anti Pakistan activities. Foreign countries will not support us because we already declared that this is our war against extremists "All from our pocket", further aid over WOT depends upon military decision about N.Waziristan as it is their interests.

Economic factors blasting Gas pipelines, downsizing from industries, bad industry sector situation because of electricity, Karachi situation, highest level of corruption & 10%!

My God what is going on?

Of course military is effected by this wave of economical crisis, government must give funds to army which he aims to spent over luxury lodges.
 

blackops

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Cant you use short range rockets if you know the exact location it would be more cost effective than flying gun ships for hours
 

truthseeker2010

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$250,000 per soldier... isn't that too much multiply that by at least 60,000 that makes it 15 billion dollars a year which is around 9% of the GDP. Set aside the defence budget and it gets even higher. As a matter of fact our tax to GDP ratio is around 9.8.....
IMO I don't think that its a correct number.
 

ANG

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Dear All, this report is a bit disturbing, if it is true. It implies that the brave soldiers of the PA do not have adequate gunship protection. How credible do you think this report is? Thanks

Fighting against militancy: Gunships grounded over high costs – The Express Tribune

/*************************************************/
Fighting against militancy: Gunships grounded over high costs
By Kamran Yousaf / Zia Khan
Published: January 26, 2011
Military campaigns in tribal areas hamstrung by resource constraints.

ISLAMABAD: With the country’s economy on a downslide, the military is struggling to keep up the momentum of its campaign against the Taliban and their al Qaeda cohorts in the tribal badlands, security officials said.

Resource constraints have grounded almost all operations against the home-grown Taliban to a near halt notwithstanding sporadic actions in some volatile areas, the offi cials told The Express Tribune. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Aerial attacks, which helped the military take out several high-value targets in the tribal regions, have particularly been affected by the shortage of funds. “Air power has always been a real difference between us and them. Without aerial cover, ground troops often face stiff resistance,“ said a fighter pilot from the Army Aviation, who took part in the 2009 Swat operation.

Helicopter gunships have been the most effective weapon the Army Aviation used in operations against militants in Swat and lately in South Waziristan and Orakzai tribal regions.

“But flying gunships on a daily basis is a very expensive affair,“ said the pilot, who once pounded the hideouts of the Taliban led by fugitive cleric Mullah Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio, in the high mountains of Swat Valley.

Of late, ground troops also relied on air power to make inroads into the deep valleys surrounded by mountainous terrain in the militant-infested South Waziristan and Orakzai.

But for quite some time now, the aerial operations have been halted, primarily because of their exorbitant cost, which runs into billions of rupees, said officials at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Another official also confirmed the development but cited a different reason. “Yes, it is true helicopter gunship attacks are rare now. But it is due to the fact that militants are now scattered in different areas,“ he said. “Whenever the militants regroup we use helicopter gunships like we did on Tuesday in Mohmand,“ he added.

The military’s presumed `foot dragging’ is coincidental with efforts by top leaders from the country’s largest political parties to evolve a mechanism to pull the country’s ailing economy out of troubled waters.

Last week, a government economic team engaged the main opposition party in talks in an effort to seek its support for the economy that has since 2008 been breathing on an $11.3 billion bailout package by the International Monetary Fund.

The economic crunch is hitting the military alike.

Recently, the army decided to allow two weekly holidays in its units to cope with the situation.

“Fighting a war is a costly affair,” said Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum. “With the government facing serious economic challenges, it is obvious the military cannot sustain its activities in the tribal areas in this situation,” said Gen Qayyum, who is a former chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories.

“I don’t think the military can launch any new full-scale operation in the tribal areas,“ he said. “According to my estimate, the ongoing operations in the tribal areas cost Pakistan roughly $250,000 per soldier annually as compared to $1 million being spent by the Americans in Afghanistan,“ he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2011.
 

Jango

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i dont think that this is true.....i dont believe this is true ...i will ask a person about his and then say more
 

Kashmiri Nationalist

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This is bad news, the war will be harder to fight now. PA should look to some alternatives, such as arming local militias to fight against the Taliban more, and/or dividing the Taliban. Similarly, people in former Taliban areas need to be recruited to PA so PA can maintain a good "presence" in those areas among the population.
 

Aamir Hussain

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As far as I know the Bell 412 ops are going on supported by US maintenance support. Son-in-law of one of my cousins is a pilot on them and was recently deputed with his helo to Karachi to support the Rangers (Two helos).

One of the issues being faced by PA is the diversion of funds by GoP from WoT support fund to other areas.

The other is lack of speedy refund from US on PA WoT expenses.
 

Parashuram1

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As far as I know the Bell 412 ops are going on supported by US maintenance support. Son-in-law of one of my cousins is a pilot on them and was recently deputed with his helo to Karachi to support the Rangers (Two helos).

One of the issues being faced by PA is the diversion of funds by GoP from WoT support fund to other areas.

The other is lack of speedy refund from US on PA WoT expenses.
But isn't the battling of militants inside your territory you own government's target? This does not seem to be a part of America's war on terror campaign since agencies like TTP which your fellow nationals admit is indigenous to Pakistan.

How would United States be liable in this case? And if not, they would refuse any fund that they might not deem essential based on the militancy situation. What is your opinion on this?
 

Donatello

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So when we do take action against he militants on our side of border, US doesn't help?


Like seriously, WTF!
 

TaimiKhan

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But isn't the battling of militants inside your territory you own government's target? This does not seem to be a part of America's war on terror campaign since agencies like TTP which your fellow nationals admit is indigenous to Pakistan.

How would United States be liable in this case? And if not, they would refuse any fund that they might not deem essential based on the militancy situation. What is your opinion on this?
Before the US came to this region, where there any of these militants or the conditions right now ?? Was TTP alive and kicking before 2001 ?? Have the numbers of such militants / groups reduced or increased after the involvement or should i be saying invasion and occupation of Afghanistan / and subsequent US interference in Pakistan.

So indirectly TTP kind of outfit has been born due to the US due to the consequences of its involvement in the region, and lot of their support is from across the border also, where they are enjoying the Afghan hospitality.

I hope i don't have to open the Tamil issue and the concerns being shown on the Indian side due to the fighting happening in Sri Lanka, since it was Tamils fighting in Sri Lanka, India being a neighbour and having Tamil population just across Sri Lanka, had its own concern and an Indian PM was killed by the Tamils.
 

Parashuram1

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Before the US came to this region, where there any of these militants or the conditions right now ?? Was TTP alive and kicking before 2001 ?? Have the numbers of such militants / groups reduced or increased after the involvement or should i be saying invasion and occupation of Afghanistan / and subsequent US interference in Pakistan.

So indirectly TTP kind of outfit has been born due to the US due to the consequences of its involvement in the region, and lot of their support is from across the border also, where they are enjoying the Afghan hospitality.

I hope i don't have to open the Tamil issue and the concerns being shown on the Indian side due to the fighting happening in Sri Lanka, since it was Tamils fighting in Sri Lanka, India being a neighbour and having Tamil population just across Sri Lanka, had its own concern and an Indian PM was killed by the Tamils.
But that is not an excuse strong enough to demand additional funding from Americans if you see this logically. The TTP is not related to the Afghan Taliban you say; which essentially means that these are the result of radicalization of local people of your country against your government which makes it an internal matter.

True that TTP were not existing before American arrival but then you should know that United States did not invade your country; hence this is a very flimsy excuse that just because Americans are in your neighbouring country, they are the reason for radicalization of your people. Controlling the aspects of your society is the responsibility of your government and hence to blame Americans here is simply wrong.

Their action was against another country which simply shares its border with you. Now this 'invasion/occupation' philosophy of yours intrigues me. Afghanistan is a totally different territory than yours and hence it should matter little to you as to what happens there. On the other hand, you seem to be livid about their matter with United States for trivial reasons like religion, ethnicity, percieved notion of common culture etc, that have little place in international politics and managing a country successfully.

Your claim that TTP enjoys support among Afghans seems a little far-fetched since a lot of experienced members here speak otherwise.

I do not understand why do you have to bring your neighbours needlessly here. My questions are pertaining to matters about your country alone. Bringing them in would mean that soon Indian members would arrive here and counter your comment with theirs and soon this thread would be engulfed in a word war, while I would not get my questions answered.

Bringing them here would do you no good, unless you are still living in the childish thinking that I am an 'Indian'. If so, you should be an Arab.
 

TaimiKhan

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But that is not an excuse strong enough to demand additional funding from Americans if you see this logically. The TTP is not related to the Afghan Taliban you say; which essentially means that these are the result of radicalization of local people of your country against your government which makes it an internal matter.
I am not talking about any excuse, my point was something else. Certain elements in the TTP are linked to the Afghan side also, they send their fighters to the Afghan side, to get them battle experience, rotate them back to Pakistan and then use them here, there is not official collusion between both, but on the lower levels both help out each other, one of the reason certain drone attacks have happened in the TTP controlled area too, plus certain foreign fighters have been with them too.

True that TTP were not existing before American arrival but then you should know that United States did not invade your country; hence this is a very flimsy excuse that just because Americans are in your neighbouring country, they are the reason for radicalization of your people. Controlling the aspects of your society is the responsibility of your government and hence to blame Americans here is simply wrong.
I hope you have heard of the Muslim brotherhood thingy, since a neighboring Muslim country got invaded, and then to please the invader, our politicians / leaders sent in troops to secure the border, since the invading army could not do the job of securing it themselves, it generated negative feelings among the local population, especially the tribal areas where the military went in and then the subsequent operations targeting objectives in the tribal areas, all had negative outcome and more locals joined the cause, either to fight the Americans there or the PA which is seen as someone supporting its American masters by killing those who are perceived as freedom fighters on that side and on this side by the tribals.

Plus, kindly read about the history of Pushtuns & this region dominated by Pushtun tribes and the previous wars or invasions, Pushtuns whose areas are the most affected and are a major part in this whole situation in Afghanistan. Just like your Tamil side aided the Tamils in Sri Lanka materially or money wise, even though both are in different countries, same is the case here, Pushtuns are in strength leading this resistance and both live in this region and what is now known as NWFP / KP & Afghanistan was once one whole empire / country / region, which ever suits you. So, as i said, kindly see the history of this area and why it is affecting us. Even right now, there are villages, which are half on Afghan side and half in the Pakistan side, leave aside villages, homes are divided between both the borders, some rooms of the same house are in Pakistan and some in Afghan side. Read history of the region, Pushtuns have a very rich history of this location and they have resisted invaders, even after Pakistan came into being, a few elements of the British era fighting gave a fight to the PA also, but died down after getting no major support from the locals.

Their action was against another country which simply shares its border with you. Now this 'invasion/occupation' philosophy of yours intrigues me. Afghanistan is a totally different territory than yours and hence it should matter little to you as to what happens there. On the other hand, you seem to be livid about their matter with United States for trivial reasons like religion, ethnicity, percieved notion of common culture etc, that have little place in international politics and managing a country successfully.
Well may be you are not fully informed about the history of this region, its past, past wars, the great games played, local resistance to invaders, and the most important of all, the Pushtun tribe, who have lead all the major resistance movements. Today they might be Pakistan and Afghanistan to you, but for the local tribes, they see no border, just as above said, they still share villages, homes right on the border, they travel without any visa or passport and many of them cross the border each day without even themselves knowing that they are crossing in pakistan or afghanistan, as for them its their historical homes / regions, which are controlled by themselves and not by any govt. Once again, plz read who lives here and what is their culture, tradition, without knowing that and without knowing them, you can't implement your international politics / globalization in this region, as these people don't know such stuff, all they know is that this is their region and any foreign force is not welcome, even if its the PA.

Your claim that TTP enjoys support among Afghans seems a little far-fetched since a lot of experienced members here speak otherwise.
Well the words of military generals on this side of the border are something to the contrary. Watch the interviews of the ex Maj Gen Tariq Khan IGFC, who lead the major operations in the tribal areas, he has something else to say. And as for the experienced members you are referring to, may be they are not that much experienced in reality. Do watch and read what ex- IGFC had to say.

I do not understand why do you have to bring your neighbours needlessly here. My questions are pertaining to matters about your country alone. Bringing them in would mean that soon Indian members would arrive here and counter your comment with theirs and soon this thread would be engulfed in a word war, while I would not get my questions answered.

Bringing them here would do you no good, unless you are still living in the childish thinking that I am an 'Indian'. If so, you should be an Arab.
First of all, i have no idea, where this Indian thing came into, did i said anything about India or its involvement ?? I don't think so, even still if what happens as you said, it simply means they are more into trolling then knowing the facts on the ground.

Without knowing the people, their religious believes, their cultural believes, their history, their traditions, their tribal code of conduct, you can't analyze this whole situation. Know the people involved, the ones leading this, the ones who are in majority, then you may know about the issue at hand and see whats happening. These are not the simple politics you guys think, that there its Afghanistan, here its pakistan, then whts the matter with you guys.

My answer is, since I am a Pushtun, i belong to this area which is seeing the major fighting, know the people and then talk, otherwise whatever else you guys say, comes into the spear of trolling as you guys don't know who doing what and why.
 

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